Global Adventure - Backpack Across the Andes of Argentine Patagonia from Bariloche to Tronador


Global Adventure - Backpack Across the Andes of Argentine Patagonia from Bariloche to Tronador

BACKPACK OR TREK ACROSS NAHUEL HUAPI NATIONAL PARK. Explore with an experienced local guide for 9 days out of Bariloche, Argentina in Nahuel Huapi National Park - along high ridges, above innumerable glacial lakes, past granite domes and through rainforest, to the Tronador volcano and its many glaciers. Transfer back to Bariloche on the Andes Crossing ferry, or continue on to the trekking adventure in Chile.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Sun, Feb 28, 2016 — Wed, Mar 9, 2016
  • Global Adventures Committee
  • Global Adventures, Day Hiking, Backpacking
  • Singles, 20-30 Somethings, Retired Rovers, Adults
  • Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 35.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 10,500 ft

Participants need to arrive in Bariloche, Argentina (reachable by air through Buenos Aires) by no later than early afternoon of Monday February 29, 2016.  After a guided loop hike to a spectacular ridge and lake above Bariloche on March 1 to get ourselves 'warmed up', we will hike and backpack for 9 days, ending on March 9  with a boat and bus transfer back to Bariloche, or continuing on to join the trekking adventure among the lakes and volcanoes of the Chilean Lakes District.  Participants not going on to Chile can begin scheduling flights home on or after March 10, through Buenos Aires.  

(Note:  those joining the Chile extension trip will take a bus and boat transfer west from Puerto Frias on March 9 across the Andes crest to Petrohue, Chile, and trek/dayhike from March 10-15, ending at the international airport in Puerto Montt on Wednesday March 16 for flights back home (usually connecting through Santiago). 

NOTE:  Dates are subject to change until final deposits are paid.

Itinerary Highlights:   Starting from Bariloche, Argentina, the group will have a free day on February 29 to explore, and then a second day (on March 1) to stretch our legs with a challenging dayhike to the top of Cerro Lopez to look out over the terrain we will cover over our next 8 days of backpacking.  Then on day 3 (March 2) we will head high onto the mountains of Nahuel Huapi National Park with a guide and our camping gear on our backs (porters will carry the included food and cooking gear, and are available to participants to carry personal gear for an additional fee).  For the next 3 days (March 3-5) we will climb rocky ridges and into high cirques with lovely glacial lakes, with Nahuel Huapi lake far below to the east and massive Cerro Tronador (“The Thunderer”) looming to the west.   We'll pass over and around striking granite domes, and drop into deep valleys with lovely meadows, forests and lakes.  We will dine at a refugio on the first night of our trek and camp nearby, but the next three nights will be in tents at undeveloped camps on the shore of remote lakes, some with sandy beaches  offering a swim from our camp, with a view of Cerro Tronador reflecting in the lake and the faint thunder of icefall from its hanging glaciers.  On day 6 (March 6) we’ll descend to the pretty village of Pampa Linda for a welcome shower, bed and restaurant dinner at a small family-run lodge.  Then, on day 7 (March 7), we’ll climb again, this time onto the flanks of Tronador herself – first to Refugio Otto Meiling, surrounded by the glaciers and waterfalls coming out of Glaciar Castaño Overa, and stay at the refugio on the 7th night.  Then on the 8th day (March 8) we’ll descend between several glaciers, passing over Paso de las Nubes, to the valley of Rio Frias and camp in the rain forest along the river.  We’ll finish our Argentina segment on day 9 (March 9) with a short hike down the Frias Valley to Lago Frias, where those who choose to finish here will catch two boats and a bus back to Bariloche for a last night at a hotel in town and flights back to the U.S. on the next day.  Those who continue to the Chile adventure will catch a bus and then a boat across the Andes to Petrohue on huge Lago Todos de Santos, followed by six days of guided trekking among the volcanoes, lakes and imposing granite cliffs of Chile's Lakes District.

Our outfitter, Andescross (, has led treks, climbs and ski mountaineering trips in Nahuel Huapi and around the world for 16 years and has an excellent safety record and reputation for stellar customer service.  All of their guides are internationally certified Mountain Guides and Wilderness First Responders or equivalent.

During the Argentina segment, while on the trail we will be camping 6 nights, spending 2 nights in basic refugios (that is, basic mountain huts with dining and common areas and dormitory-style sleeping accommodations with separate men's and women's toilets and showers down the hall) and one night in a modest lodge in Pampa Linda, carrying our own tents, sleeping bags, clothing and daytime gear.   Porters are available at extra cost, for those who would like additional porter assistance and a lighter load.

The trip is scheduled so that busy working people can do the entire Argentina itinerary with only 10 days off work. 

The maximum altitude we will reach on this route is 6500', at refugio Otto Meiling.  Altitude illness issues should not be a concern.

Time of Year:   We’ll be travelling in late summer, during the tail end of the warm season when the weather usually continues fair but the hordes of summer tourists have gone home.  Daily high temperatures in March average 60-75°F; skies are clear or mostly clear 60% of the time, and the probability of rain is 20% or less.

Lodging:   See itinerary detail.

Food:   We will eat family style meals at refugios on some nights along our trek, included in the trip price, and while we are staying in villages or towns we will eat at moderately priced restaurants - breakfasts and dinners will generally be included in town and at refugios.  Vegetarian alternatives are available.  The outfitter will provide the food for the camping portions of the trip and porters will carry the food and cooking gear.

 Leader’s Experience:   Cheryl Talbert ( is a long-time hiker and backpacker who has led extended treks and backpacks in the U.S. and overseas for several years.  She has led Global Adventures treks and backpacks for the Mountaineers since 2013.  This will be her 4th trip to the Andes and her third to Patagonia, though this will be her first trip to the Lakes District. 

Participant Requirements:   Must be a current Mountaineers member with waiver on file. Participants must be in good cardiovascular condition, confident on rough trail carrying a backpack for 6-10 miles and 1500' elevation gain for multiple days in a row.  NOTE:  The trails in this area cross rugged and challenging terrain, with steep ascents and descents on scree and boulders.  Participants need to have good balance, be comfortable with crossing streams on rocks or logs and climbing/ descending steep scree and boulder slopes, and be OK with mild exposure.  Must demonstrate recent experience with strenuous backpacking, scrambling or hiking on rugged terrain, plus a positive attitude and the ability to get along well with groups under demanding conditions.    If someone has not hiked on rugged terrain with the leader or with another Mountaineers leader in the recent past, the leader may request to hike with that person before approving them for the trip.

Trip Price Detail:   $3,000, including 3 nights at hotels, 2 nights at mountain huts, and 1 night at a simple lodge;  experienced local guides for the full itinerary; porters; tents;  most meals; and all ground transportation including a lovely boat ride on Nahuel Huapi lake and bus transfer from the end point of the trip back to Bariloche.  The price also includes leader expenses and a 16% Mountaineers administration fee.   (The final price could change based on number of people registered.)  Not included is the cost of airfare,  the Argentina reciprocity fee of $160, lunches in town, travel insurance, or personal items.

Registration Instructions:   Please complete the linked application form and email it to the leader. After the leader’s approval, please call The Mountaineers at 206-521-6001 to pay a $1,000 deposit to hold your space on the roster. Registration will close on January 1, 2016 or whenever the roster fills.   A place on the roster can only be held with payment of the deposit. The balance of the trip payment is due by January 1.

Cancellation Policy:  If you cancel because of an emergency, you may receive a refund less non-refundable expenses incurred and a $100 administrative fee.


Backpack Across the Andes of Argentine Patagonia from Bariloche to Tronador

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

After receiving your deposit, the leader will send out a series of letters or emails providing information to help participants succeed on the trip, including recommended and required gear, recommended maps and guidebooks.


Trip Reports